A gem of a city
Potsdam, is a perfect gem of a city. It’s within easy reach of Berlin and its airports, and has lots of interesting things to see and do. It is so special it has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
Take for instance its fabulous parks, gardens and palaces – once the summer playgrounds and homes of kings and nobility wanting to escape the heat and noise of city life. With its proximity to a river, rolling countryside and woods teaming with wildlife it was an idyllic destination.
Who could not be fascinated by Frederick the Great’s palace of Sanssouci with its magnificent rooms where he discussed and argued his theories with the intellectuals of the day – one of them Voltaire; and where he played his musical instruments (badly it is reputed) in his charming music room.
A safe haven from religious persecution
But it was not just nobility who called Potsdam home. Frederick William Elector of Brandenburg had granted refugees suffering from religious persecution a safe haven in Brandenburg. Many of them made their way to Potsdam, taking with them their skills, culture and traditions.
For instance the Dutch, who usefully took their knowledge of how to drain swampy land, built their homes in the traditional Dutch fashion.
Today there are well over 100 red-brick houses complete with Dutch-style gables in the picturesque Dutch quarter.
Seven Christmas Markets
One way or another they all added to the charm of this delightful city. It continues to this day and especially in the traditions of Advent and Christmas markets. And that is another reason why Potsdam is so special – there are seven Christmas markets in Potsdam.
2019 Christmas Market Festivities
Wander into the Dutch quarter to find traditional Dutch specialities at the Sinterklaas-Fest celebrations which takes place 7 and 8 December 2019 11am – 8pm. On sale are Dutch arts and crafts plus enticing culinary goodies. Make a point of getting to Potsdam Harbour on 7 December in time to see Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) and his entourage arrive. No admission charge.
Head out to the Russian quarter – Alexandrowka – for Russian products and specialities. In the grounds of the quarter’s museum enjoy the warmth of a roaring log fire whilst perusing the arts and crafts for sale. Learn how to weave a Christmas wreath, and enjoy tea or mulled wine from the Samovar. Open – 30 November 11am – 8pm; 1, 7 and 8 December 11am – 6pm. No admission charge.
The courtyard of the Coach House on Potsdam’s Neuer Markt in the city centre is where visitors will find some 40 stalls selling Polish handicrafts and specialities alongside a variety of activities. 29 November – 1 December, Friday 4pm – 8pm, Saturday 11am – 8pm, Sunday 11am – 7pm, Friday 4.00 pm – 6.00 pm. Admission 2 Euro.
The Nowawaes colony of Bohemian weavers settled in Potsdam in the Babelsberg district of the city. Amongst the 18th century weavers houses and inns on Weberplatz the Bohemian Christmas Market takes place selling traditional handicrafts and seasonal treats along with mulled wine, look out for the Bohemian Crystal Fairy. 6 – 8 December ; Friday 5pm – 10pm, Saturday 11am – 10pm, Sunday 11am – 7pm. No admission charge.
Italian Flair at the Romantik Christmas Village
400 metres from Sanssouci Palace is the courtyard of the Krongut Bornstedt estate which is transformed into a Tuscan village. Here visitors will find ceramics and handicrafts from the Erzgebirge, along with jewellery and foody treats galore. 30 November – 22 December; Thursday – Friday 5pm – 8pm; Saturday and Sunday 12am – 9pm. Admission Saturday and Sunday 2 Euro.
Advent Market at the Belvedere
Head out to Pfingstberg and the market held around the Belvedere’s pool. Along with regional arts and crafts on sale, choirs will perform, fairy stories told and there will be visits from Father Christmas. 29 November – 1 December and 8 December; Friday 4pm – 9pm, Saturday 12am – 8pm and Sunday 12am – 6pm. No admittance charge.
Potsdam City Centre
Blue lights cast a magical spell over the Potsdam City Centre Christmas Market held in Brandenburger Strasse and the Luisenplatz.
This historic Christmas market comes complete with an ice rink, plus a stage for a variety of different acts and performances. Along with the market stalls there are also all the shops, boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants of this neighbourhood bright with Christmas lights and decorations. The festivities commence on 25 November at 4pm when the Lord Mayor opens the Christmas Market, followed by the traditional cutting of the Giant Christmas Stollen. 25 November – 29 December.
Potsdam Overview: https://foodytraveller.com/potsdam-without-a-care/